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Old Fashioned Food Miles

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We bought some spotted dick from Waitrose last week. We hadn't had this before. It was branded "Aunty's" and came from Old Fashioned Foods (UK) Ltd. Two individual plastic pots in a cardboard wrapper. You took the foil tops off the pots and microwaved them.

Auntie's spotted dick

We did that and they were ... OK ... ish. Certainly not as crumbly as the photo on the wrapper suggests. But that's not why I'm wibbling about this tonight.

What shocked both of us was the small print on the bottom. Bear in mind this is just spotted dick, nothing special ingredient wise, it's the sort of thing any competent food manufacturer could turn out. But this is "Produced in New Zealand for Old Fashioned Foods (UK) Ltd".

Yes, that's right: they're making spotted dick in New Zealand and shipping it half way around the world. You couldn't put any more food miles on a product unless you made it on the Antipodes Islands!

Waitrose make great play of their ethical policies. For example they claim that:

Waitrose uses British suppliers wherever possible, and has worked in partnership with local and regional producers for many years, actively promoting and supporting their high quality food products. [...]

'Waitrose seeks out the finest local and regional products our country has to offer,' says Graham Cassie, Manager Brand Development. 'We work with farmers and growers in a real spirit of partnership, and provide many rural areas with a new market for small-scale producers. It also means our customers can sample the very best food their local area has to offer and the positive effects are felt in their communities.'

I shall be writing to Waitrose to ask then why they can't find a more local supplier - on the same continent would be a start.

Tags: food Written 29/10/08

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